Israel launches 'comprehensive' strikes after rockets hit military base in Lebanon

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Rocket attacks from Lebanon targeted several areas, including the northern Israeli city of Safed

Four people were killed in an “extensive wave” of Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon after a Hezbollah rocket attack killed a soldier in Israel.

A woman and two children were killed in the southern Lebanese city of Souaneh, state media and security sources said.

A man identified by Hezbollah as one of its fighters was killed in the regime.

Israel's military said it hit Hezbollah's infrastructure in retaliation for a deadly rocket attack on its base in the northern Israeli city of Safed.

Hezbollah fighters have exchanged fire with Israeli forces on the border almost every day since fighting between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas began in the Gaza Strip in October.

These clashes have raised fears of a wider regional conflict.

On Wednesday morning, sirens sounded across northern Israel as rockets were fired toward Nedua and Manara and the town of Safed, 14 km (9 miles) south of the border.

One Israeli soldier was killed and seven wounded. The dead soldier was later identified as Staff-Sergeant Omar Sarah Benjo.

A video shows another rocket landing near the gate of Safad Hospital.

Hezbollah later said it attacked an “enemy position” in Safed “in support of the people and the Gaza resistance who are being subjected to a brutal Zionist occupation with a US green light”.

In the afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced that warplanes struck “a series of Hezbollah terrorist targets” in Souaneh, Aadchit, Jabal al-Braij, Kfar Houneh and Kfar Dunin in response to the rocket attack.

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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the ceasefire would only happen “if the occupation ends and there is a ceasefire in Gaza”.

“Targets hit include military compounds, operational control rooms and terrorist infrastructure,” it said, adding that many of the targets belonged to Hezbollah's elite Ratwan force, whose well-trained members are considered the group's special forces.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported that a Syrian woman, Rawaa al-Mohammed, and her two sons, Hassan Mohsen, 13, and Amir Mohsen, two, were killed in a strike at a home in Souaneh.

Video from the city showed residents examining the wreckage of at least one destroyed building and the wreckage of a burned-out car.

The NNA reported that one person was killed and 10 injured in the regime. It named the deceased as Hassan Ali Najm, a Hezbollah fighter the group confirmed in a statement on Telegram.

“As we have made clear time and time again, Israel is not interested in a two-front war. But if provoked, we will respond with force,” Israeli government spokeswoman Ilana Stein told Reuters news agency.

“The current reality is that tens of thousands of Israelis are displaced [in the north] And cannot return to their homes, unbearable. They should return to their homeland and live in peace and security,” he said.

The IDF's chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, meanwhile, told the leaders of the northern municipalities: “We have great achievements in attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon, but we continue to operate – this is not the time to stop.

“We are intensifying the strikes all the time, and Hezbollah is paying an increasingly heavy price.”

On Tuesday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Israeli leaders in a speech that launching a war against the group would result in “the expulsion of millions of people” from northern Israel.

“To those who threaten us with expanding the war: if you expand, so will we,” he said, adding that “those who think that the resistance may be afraid are greatly mistaken”.

He also vowed that Hezbollah would only cease firing “if the occupation ends and there is a ceasefire in Gaza.”

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